MGWCC #835

crossword 2:53
meta DNF 2 days 



hello, and welcome to episode #835 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Word Find”. for this week 5 puzzle, we’re looking for a famous person with a 6-letter surname. okay, what are the theme answers? nothing is explicitly marked as such, but there are exactly six words in the grid that are clued as part of an acronym or initialism:

  • {Part of TLDR} READ. too long, didn’t read.
  • {Part of WHO} WORLD. world health organization.
  • {Part of EGOT} EMMY. emmy, grammy, oscar, tony.
  • {Part of ROTFL} FLOOR. rolling on the floor laughing.
  • {Part of DKNY} DONNA. donna karan, new york.
  • {Part of BOGO} BUY. buy one, get one.

okay, that looks like a pretty obvious first step. but what next? the first thing i thought of was to look for another word in the grid that is part of these acronyms/initialisms, but that search did not get very far. TOO in TLDR is part of the entry IS TOO, but nothing else is jumping out at me. the 7-across {Crossword honor} ORCA is, alas, not yet considered one of the major entertainment industry awards, otherwise i’d be one quarter of the way to an EGOT.

all right, how about going at this from a different angle? these late-month metas often involve a step where we need to find a clue in the grid that could also satisfy a different answer. one such clue jumped right out at me during the solve: {Family member of Edith Frank} OTTO in the grid, but “family member” in the clue looks suspiciously general enough to include ANNE as a possible alternative. does ANNE have anything to do with any of our six theme answers?

heyyyy, maybe it does. it’s not one of the words in DKNY, but if you write it all out, “donna karAN NEw york” does indeed include ANNE. this is promising!

another clue that caught my eye was {God associated with lightning} ZEUS, which could also be THOR. and indeed, “world healTH ORganization” includes THOR. okay. this is definitely something. let’s go through them all:

  • {Part of TLDR} READ. too long, didn’t read. this notably contains OOLONG, which is a {Tea type} like SPICED.
  • {Part of WHO} WORLD. world health organization. THOR and ZEUS, as above.
  • {Part of EGOT} EMMY. emmy, grammy, oscar, tony. not sure about this one yet. SCAR and CART are in there. oh hey, also CARTON, which matches {Common container} RECEPTACLE.
  • {Part of ROTFL} FLOOR. rolling on the floor laughing. the word that jumped out at me was LINGO, which looks like it might be an alternate answer to {Local patois} TONGUE.
  • {Part of DKNY} DONNA. donna karan, new york. ANNE and OTTO, as above.
  • {Part of BOGO} BUY. buy one, get one. this has TONE, which is a {Shade} like HUE.

okay—the six entries in the grid (all reading across) that match these clues (SPICED, HUE, OTTO, RECEPTACLE, TONGUE, ZEUS) spell out SHORTZ in grid order. so any famous person surnamed SHORTZ would be an acceptable answer… is there anybody?

… i’m joking, of course. it’s will shortz, and it’s a lovey tribute to a crossword icon who’s going through a rough year. it was really quite moving to see him at ACPT and hear him address the crowd from his wheelchair just a couple months on from his stroke. let’s hope his recovery is continuing.

in the meantime, i really like this meta! it’s a very elegant idea—looking for a word as part of an expanded acronym/initialism not as one of the individual words, but as a word hidden in the expanded phrase. it’s such a common crossword theme to have words hidden in long grid entries, but the subtle twist of hiding the word in a phrase that’s not in the grid explicitly, but only implied by a theme clue, made it feel quite fresh. i don’t know if this week 5 was harder than last week’s week 4 (the leaderboard so far suggests that it is about the same, maybe slightly easier), but it was an interesting and fun solve, which is really the important thing. it’s an elegant touch that the hidden word always came from a different part of the phrase than the word explicitly included in the grid.

that’s all for me. how’d you all fare this week, and this month? for my own part, i think this is my first 5-for-5 in quite a long while.

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28 Responses to MGWCC #835

  1. Maggie W. says:

    Oh, that’s fun that TONE/HUE works, as well. I had ETON/HARROW…which also works!

    • Matt Gaffney says:

      Wow — I was going for ETON/HARROW. That TONE/HUE also works is one of the oddest coincidences I’ve seen over these 16 years…

      220 correct answers, of which 126 were solo solves

    • joon says:

      wait, whoa. i noticed ETON/HARROW myself on my first pass, and by the time i got around to typing it into the blog 2 minutes later, i had forgotten about it. then i noticed TONE/HUE and that’s what went into the blog post.

      • Matt Gaffney says:

        Seems too crazy to be true, but I checked my notes and at no time did I have TONE/HUE down as a possibility. It was always ETON/HARROW.

  2. jefe says:

    I just had the flash of inspiration a few minutes before the deadline, seeing ANNE inside KARANNEW, but I don’t think I got my submission in in time.

  3. Richard K says:

    It took me until late Monday night to follow this same path. (For BOGO, I substituted “Eton” for HARROW instead of getting the H from HUE.) It was such fun to see that final Z pop up to complete Will’s name. I confess to letting out a little whoop at the moment. Ideal meta experience — bravo, Matt!

  4. Brian says:

    I went down a rabbit hole after noticing pairs of clues with a common word: “capital”, “casual”, “famed”. Even “casino(s)” appearing twice seemed strange/deliberate, since ARIA can be clued without using it, but alas, none of that was relevant.

  5. e.a. says:

    damn that’s good

  6. Jeffrey Mizrahi says:

    Pressed for time…AARRRRGGGH…Got the O, R, and Z and just assumed it was MOZART…

  7. Paul+Coulter says:

    I didn’t notice the TONE/HUE pair, but I actually got the S of Shortz a different way from OOLONG/SPICED. After trying TREAD and TOOL from TOOLONGDIDNTREAD, I hit on TRE as an Italian number that mapped to SEI.

    • Adam Rosenfield says:

      That’s another interesting coincidence, though SEI isn’t in the same grid position as SPICED. If you read those out in the intended grid order, you get HORSTZ instead of SHORTZ, so you’d need to anagram to get the final answer.

      The astonishing thing about TONE/HUE is that HUE is right before HARROW in the grid, so it shows up in the correct extraction order.

      • Paul+Coulter says:

        yeah, it bothered me that the SEI was out of order, since Matt rarely resorts to anagrams. But I’d been working on the meta a long time and I knew it had to be SHORTZ, so I said the hell with it and sent in my answer.

    • Joe Eckman says:

      Same! It was curious to me that my S was the only letter that was “out of order.” But I backsolved and found the spiced/oolong connection. The SEI/TRE connection was the second one I found after Eton/harrow

  8. anna g says:

    RECEPTACLE and PROWL both having clues that could be answered with the word CASE had me really going down the wrong path until i finally got this one

  9. Jay says:

    Count me in the ETON/HARROW camp. Great puzzle, Matt!

  10. Seth Cohen says:

    Wow, I got caught in the deepest rabbit hole ever:
    READ, TLDR, TOO, TOP (another entry with one letter changed)

    But there was nothing for EMMY, and org being an abbr was dubious, so I knew this was wrong, but it worked so well!

  11. Hector says:

    OOLONG is just snickering at you when you finally notice it sitting in plain sight. :-)

  12. Barnyard says:

    Very special. Congratulations Matt on an ingenious puzzle befitting the dedicatee and his lifelong contributions to the art. And congratulations to the solvers – way beyond my talents but fun to appreciate even after the fact.

  13. david glasser says:

    What I loved about this one is that the clues all say “Part of”, and that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Just not the same kind of part that clues of this form usually mean.

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